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Row as Scottish council sends biodegradable waste to foreign incinerator

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A row has erupted over a council’s plans to ship biodegradable waste from Scotland to a Swedish incinerator.

With a total landfill ban due in Clackmannanshire in 2021, from next month rubbish from the area will be sent to a facility in Polmont.

However, once recyclable materials are recovered, the waste will be turned into refuse-derived fuel, then baled and shipped to Sweden where it will be used in combined heat and power plants.

Environmental campaign organisation Zero Waste Europe claims waste-to-energy incineration has a significantly worse climate impact than electricity generated from fossil fuels.

UNISON’s Pam Robertson hit out at the move to send waste overseas.

“Clackmannanshire Council recently decided to cut back on its recycling services for residents and now we’ve signed a contract to send our waste abroad to feed incinerators,” she said.

“The decisions run contradictory to local authority commitments and is not the act of a council intent on playing its part in tackling climate change.”

Labour councillor Dave Clark said he would write to Friends of the Earth about environmental issues in Clackmannanshire.

However, the local authority insists it will continue to follow the requirements of the National Household Waste Recycling Charter, which it signed up to in 2016.

The council said: “Energy from waste facilities being used under this short-term contract are all combined heat and power facilities where not only is electricity generated, but heat is used via district heating networks.

“Incineration also produces considerably less CO2 emissions than landfill.”

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said: “We are seeing last-minute efforts by councils across Scotland to pass on their waste to mega incinerators across Europe.”